Sandy doesn't stop campaign sparring

While both President Obama and Mitt Romney held off on campaign work in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, their campaign aides and surrogates were exercising no restraint, engaged in a bitter battle of words that raised questions on both sides about who is holding a full house and who is bluffing with two pair.

The back and forth has been going on for days over which party has the advantage in early voting and absentee ballots in what states, and whether that means anything when all the ballots are counted.

Today, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina issued another statement blistering the Romney campaign, trying again to throw all kinds of cold water on any idea that Romney is "expanding the map" and putting states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota in play.

“Three things are now absolutely clear in this race – we have a significant early vote advantage in states from North Carolina to Nevada, there is no Romney momentum in the battleground states, and the Romney campaign has found itself with a tremendously narrow and improbable path to 270 electoral votes.  Now, like Republicans did in 2008, they are throwing money at states where they never built an organization and have been losing for two years.  Let’s be very clear, the Romney campaign and its allies decision to go up with advertising in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Minnesota is a decision made out of weakness, not strength.  

 “The President is leading or tied in every battleground state across the country, and he leads early voting in every state across the country.  Governor Romney has not been able to put away a single battleground state – in fact, as polls in the past day have showed the candidates tied in North Carolina, Republicans have raced to increase their television advertising there.

But Republicans were just as confident that they are changing this race with a week to go, as reports emerged that Romney was ready to dump millions in advertising in Pennsylvania, as the Obama campaign rushed to put their own ads on the air as well.

"Crushed by your policies" was the title of that new Romney ad, which is running in Pennsylvania.

Republicans issued their own memos to reporters, arguing that early voting is going in their favor in key states - and that regardless of the numbers - Democrats don't have the strength that they had in 2008, when the President cruised to an easy election victory.

The GOP also pointed to Minnesota as a perfect example of what is going on right now, as VP running mate Paul Ryan went to Minneapolis for an event, while former President Bill Clinton was also in the state campaigning on Wednesday.

The big question - to which we don't know the answer right now - is whether this maneuvering is just a lot of political stuff which won't matter one week from today.

Let's see where the candidates decide to campaign in the final days of this race.

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